Saturday, February 27, 2010

Melissa "Fort" McLaughlin Keltic Pride Award

and the winner is....I mean the WINNERS are
Royal Noeltin & Katie Simon - Congratulations to
both of you - wish we could have been there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DONNA Marathon in Honor of Fort

Welcome to FORT's blog. If you received a card with Fort's blog address at the marathon - be sure to check out the archives (down the right hand side of this page)to read FORT's words. I try to update the blog any time there is something going on in her memory or in her honor. Jen S. "Smitty", a friend and former rugby coach of Melissa's is running the marathon along with 3 of her friends - Kary from Dayton, Michelle from Fairfield and Brenda from St. Petersburg. Below is info about the marathon and the story of how this adventure came about - in Jen's words.
Jen, Kary, Michelle & Brenda also raised funds to go toward the Scholarship in Melissa's name at Fairmont High School (which will be added to the over $23,000 already raised!!!) Thank you, Team B-Positive...your contribution to the Scholarship in Fort's memory is much appreciated! Good Luck! - Fort's mom & dad
(the first scholarship will be awarded this spring - I will update with pictures.
Also coming up - The Melissa Fortener McLaughlin Keltic Pride Award (Cinncinati Kelts Rugby team) and the Melissa Fortener McLaughlin "B Positive" Spirit Award for the Fairmont High school girls basketball team. Will update with pictures for those too!)


The Third Annual 26.2 with Donna is scheduled for Sunday, February 21, 2010. The 26.2 with Donna Mission is to passionately produce world class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.

Running For Fort
Monday, January 4, 2010 at 9:25pm
I am doing a Marathon on Feb 21, 2010 for Fort, who was one of my rugby players, a teammate, and a friend. Fort was someone you met once and she would leave a lasting impression that you would never forget.

Those of you who know me well, know that I was never a runner and I still don't claim to be one. So I'd like to tell you how this all came to be.....When Fort was battling one of her rounds of cancer several years back some of my players and I decided to support her by getting a group together and running the Susan Komen 5K. We decided to have shirts made and I asked Fort what she wanted our team name to be. She said "Fort's Ruggers for Jugs" and she wanted the shirts to be bright pink. I knew then that she was seeing how far she could push me... Coach running, wearing Pink, in a shirt that says Jugs....(BTW I still have and wear the shirt proudly) So I ordered the shirts and entered the team and started training for my first 5k, looking back at it now I laugh that I trained for a 5K. The groups showed up that day and we participated in the race/walk. If you've never been to a Susan Komen Event, I strongly encourage you to go it is a very powerful experience. I finished the 5k and went back on the course to find Fort. I'll never forget turning the corner and seeing her jogging down the road. She had jogged the course w/Gina, another player. She asked me if we were almost to the finish and of course I did what any good coach would do... I lied and said Yes and she continued jogging and finished it!. Later, she said that when she gets better she wanted to do a Marathon. So trying to be a good coach and teammate I said "Alright, I'll do one with you". Thinking she was still experiencing some kind of "runners high" or something and she wasn't serious. But she was an brought it up again, so I said I was still in. Fort continued to play rugby and even did the 3 day 60 mile walk as she continued w/ her fight against cancer. I continued running 5ks and even started training and doing half marathons. I even talked another one of my friends Kary into doing half marathons with me. Kary wanted to do a marathon before she was 40, so I figured she could just join Fort and I.

However, as most of you know Fort died in 2009 2 days before her 31st birthday. So I'll be doing the 26.2 Donna Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville Fla on Feb 21, 2010 for Fort. The rugby ball you see on my profile picture is a breast cancer rugby ball which I'll be carrying w/me during the marathon. At the end of it, I'll be giving the ball to her parents.

I am part of a 4 person team that has entered the race, we are Team B-Positive named after Fort's 2nd blog site. There are 2 of us doing the marathon Kary and I, and 2 of us doing the half marathon, Brenda and Michelle. No one on the team is considered runners and we are all rookies in our respective divisions in the race. Each of us are going to be wearing shirts designed to honor Fort and promote her blog sites(Yes, they will be pink and I'll wear it proudly).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm sitting home...snow day...bored. So I went back to the "old" blog - it makes me SMILE and LAUGH OUT LOUD. If you haven't read it in awhile - you need to go back. Great pictures, videos and beer pong stories. What a storyteller she was....
reading it brings her RIGHT BACK HERE.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More from Fort....

Well. I know how much I miss reading what Melissa wrote, so when someone sends me HER WORDS, I feel like I need to post them. What follows was a personal email to a friend of Melissa's from high school. Both were written only a couple of months before Melissa passed away. When Mindy sent me the emails, I asked if it was ok
if I posted them on the blog. She felt like I do - she loves reading what her mom wrote as much as I love reading what Melissa wrote...and there is good advice from
Melissa. It just amazes me that it was only a couple months before she passed away.
She was amazing. ALWAYS positive.
Boy do I miss her. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Just a note - Donny found a site through google - Blogs to books. Publishing this blog might become a reality a lot sooner than I thought. Anyone interested? Thank you for continuing to read her blog. I know it helps me get through every day.
Her headstone/memorial is ready. Will be installed within a month.
I'll post a photo when it's in. It's simple, but beautiful. Just like her.

Here's the email from Fort to her friend Mindy (interesting note here - the charm bracelet she talks about- the one with pictures? Jeanette, a rugby friend of Melissa's gave ME one about 3 weeks ago - 18 pictures of FORT -Fort & me, Fort & John, Fort & her dad, her brother, Drew, a family photo, Rugby is BEAUTIFUL...THANKS JEANNETTE!!!!)............

Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 05:31:05 -0800
Subject: Re: Chemo/Radiation
To: mindy
Things are going good! I have ONE more treatment left on Monday. I had my 4th blood transfusion in three months this past weekend. I guess the good thing to come out of it is that Karen (Frick) works at Deaconess, and since we dont play in our volleyball league anymore, I get to see her every three weeks...she actually sticks me and takes my blood. It just sucks because Im sooo fatigued all the time....I have no oxygen so walking up a few stairs really winds me...and I still have to walk from Deaconess garage to the middle of campus everyday, but I guess that little walk is probably good for me, but its a fricken workout.

Probably sometime next week Ill get a PET scan scheduled to see how things are getting better. I was reading about all the things that happened with your moms surgery and I couldnt help but think about how God's funny like that. Maybe she missed the surgery for a bigger reason. Things miraculously clear up all the time. Its all about attitude. Thats all I kept thinking when I heard she missed her surgery....that there was a reason.

As for the basket, you might want to find out how long her treatments are going to be....and maybe find out if they're going to jack her up with some benadryl before hand. I brought a laptop to my first four hour treatment all ready to get stuff done, and they give me benadryl and Im knocked out for four hours! But if she'll be awake, I think one of those personal DVD players with some movies would be a very handy distraction during chemo. And if she's in to pop culture, People & US magazines are fun, brainless entertainment. Maybe some hard candy too. Some of the chemos cause mouth sores. And comfy slippers! And chocolate! Im getting carried away.

Ew, you know what would be a cool gift? One of those charm bracelets that can hold photos! I just googled and found this one online: then you could put all your family members in it with pics of the grandkids...that would be very cool, and she could wear it to all her treatments and brag about her kids and grandkids.

Ok, thats about it with me. Ill be heading off to my big scrapbook weekend with my aunts this weekend. Im finishing up my OU scrapbook, and Im working on one for my nephew called "WHO LOVES DREW"? and it will be a scrapbook of all of his family members, and all of Nick & Mere's friends, so as he grows up, he'll know who the hell all these people are.

Tell your mom Im thinking about her - Are you guys Catholic? I cant remember. Someone told me the Saint you need to pray to is St. Raphael....just a heads up!

have a good week.


Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 05:30:15 -0700
Subject: Re: Please read...
To: mindy
Mindy -
Im sorry to hear about your someone who deals with statistics like that everyday, I can tell you that I belive in miracles. Make sure she knows just how powerful her own willpower is. When I had metastatic cancer in my lungs, I used to talk to my body in the mirror each morning - cheering it on, telling it that it HAD to work with the drugs, and killl all the bad stuff. It sounds stupid, but I found help through chi-gong, and one of their big messages is that your MIND needs to communicate with your BODY.....they are two separate entities. And if you're persistent enough, your BODY WILL LISTEN!! While the mets in my lungs cleared up after treatment, im still dealing with some bone issues.

If your mom wants to email me if she has any chemo-related frustrations (or if YOU have them...and you will have them) tell her she can email me.

Ive got five years of this shit under my belt and Im still going strong and she can do it too!!!

Ill be thinking about you and sending lots of positive energy your way.

And of course, a post on this blog is not complete without pictures of Drew (and now
Max too! Fort would expect no less.

Drew and Pop pop in the snow...they were out for about 1/2 hour and Drew DID NOT want to come in...SCREAMED for about 10 minutes, ate lunch and fell asleep..along
with Pop Pop and Max!

Max is starting to crawl (he was 5 mos. Jan. 20) almost sitting up too! Fort would
have LOVED Max - he is the HAPPIEST baby! (I know she's watching over him!)